Genesis 45 - When Joseph Made Himself Known to His Brothers!
Genesis 45 – When Joseph Made Himself Known to His Brothers!
Judah had just finished pleading with Joseph to let him take the place of Benjamin and become his slave when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Genesis 45:1-2
Judah had just finished pleading with Joseph to let him take the place of Benjamin and become his slave. Judah was deeply concerned that if Benjamin did not return, their father would be devastated with grief. Twenty two years ago, Joseph’s brothers were so enraged by jealousy that they wanted to kill this dreamer. Judah, who had suggested that Joseph should not be killed but sold into slavery, is now willing to become Joseph’s slave.
Joseph orders his attendants to withdraw so that he can be alone with his brothers. He is finally convinced that Judah is not jealous of Benjamin but seeks to protect him. That realization, along with the news that his father Jacob may still be alive and is mourning for him, overwhelms Joseph with emotion. He wept so loudly that his Egyptian attendants who were sent away heard him sobbing.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Genesis 45:3
Pharaoh had given Joseph the Egyptian name, Zaphenath-Paneah which means, “The one who discovers hidden things.” Up until now, Joseph’s brothers were convinced that Zaphenath-Paneah, the governor of Egypt, was an Egyptian who only spoke to them through an interpreter. To their great surprise, the second most influential man in the most powerful empire in that entire part of the world speaks to them in Hebrew. They who had sold their own brother into slavery were understandably shocked and terrified.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Genesis 45:4-5
Joseph does not condemn his brothers for their past actions, but demonstrates grace and compassion towards them. Joseph explains that there was a divine purpose for his trials and suffering. He was sold into Egypt so that the lives of many people in Egypt, Canaan, and other surrounding countries would be saved. Again we see the life of Joseph as a type of the Messiah who, though innocent and betrayed by His own people, would suffer so that many people’s lives would be saved.
For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:6-7
Joseph makes it known to his brothers who had come to Egypt to buy grain a second time that the famine would last five more years. His purpose was not only to preserve lives of many Egyptians and those from other gentile nations, but to save the lives of the sons of Israel by a great deliverance.
And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength—he says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:5-6
Joseph’s words and actions foreshadow the great deliverance of the Messiah who would bring salvation to the ends of the earth to both God’s Chosen People as well as to the Gentiles.
“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Genesis 45:8
Joseph reiterates to his brothers that it is God in His sovereignty, foreknowledge and divine wisdom who purposed that he be sent down to Egypt to bring deliverance. Ancient Egypt, which was full of idolatry, is a type of our sinful world. As Joseph was sent by God, so would the promised Messiah be sent by God.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. John 6:38
Although he was innocent of wrongdoing, Joseph was sent down to Egypt by God. He endured through jealousy, hatred, false accusations and suffering in order to be raised to a position of power and authority to in order to bring a great deliverance.
But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:8-11
Jesus was sent by God to our sinful world and would endure through jealousy, hatred, false accusations and suffering in order to be raised to a position of power and authority in order to bring a great deliverance to all who call on His name.
Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’ Genesis 45:9-11
Goshen was a district in the eastern Delta which is located east of the lower Nile. It is described as the best land in the region, suitable for both crops and livestock, but also somewhat apart from Egypt. Joseph knew that shepherds were detestable to Egyptians. Therefore Joseph arranged to have his family settle in a good location but somewhat separated from where the Egyptians lived.
“You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.” Genesis 45:12-13
Joseph assures his brothers that it is really him speaking to them. Then Joseph commands his brothers to testify to their father about all the wondrous things that he has accomplished. This is yet another example of Joseph being a type of Christ.
So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Luke 7:22
Jesus assures John that He is really the Messiah that He claims to be by having John’s messengers testify about all the wondrous signs he has performed.
Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him during their first trip to Egypt but thought he was a pagan ruler. His brothers did not recognize him as a fellow Hebrew until Joseph revealed himself to them on their second journey.
He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." Matthew 15:24
He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. John 1:11
At the first coming of Christ, except for a chosen remnant, His fellow Israelites rejected Him. For nearly two millennia, Jews have viewed Jesus as some kind of Greek or Roman pagan deity. In much the same way as Joseph’s brothers did not recognize Joseph as a fellow son of Israel the first time they encountered him, Jesus’ own people did not recognize that Jesus was the Son of God.
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?" John 6:38-42
At the second coming of Jesus, He will reveal himself to His people and they will recognize Him as the Messiah of Israel.
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all of the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him so shall it be! Amen. Revelation 1:7
“I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” Zechariah 12:10
It is my understanding that the Church is raptured on Yom Teruah (The Day of Trumpets) to meet a glorious Christ in the air. At that time, those from the twelve tribes of Israel who have survived the “Times of Jacob’s Trouble would literally look upon the One their ancestors had pierced on the cross through conspiracy with Rome. They being astonished at their rejection of the true Messiah would spend the ten days of awe and repentance between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur grieving as Yeshua leaves after He has raptured His bride and takes her to heaven.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:
“The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27
When the full number of the Gentiles has come into covenant with God and the church is raptured, then the surviving remnant of Israel will all be saved.
So in likewise manner, as Joseph revealed himself to his brothers at their second coming to Egypt, at Jesus’ second coming His people Israel will look to the One they pierced. He will be revealed to Israel and leave. When Messiah and His bride return to earth ten days later on Yom Kippur, Yeshua will be embraced as King Messiah and be reconciled to His people.
Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brothers and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him. Genesis 45:14-15
Joseph fell on Benjamin’s neck first because Benjamin was unlike Joseph’s half-brothers. He was a brother by both his father Jacob as well as his mother Rachel. The sudden transition from Benjamin being viewed as a condemned criminal for stealing Joseph’s silver cup to an embraced brother, might have caused Benjamin to keel over in shock had not his tumultuous feelings been relieved by a torrent of tears. Joseph's demonstration of affection was not confined to Benjamin. He embraced every one of his brothers in succession. By his actions, his forgiveness was demonstrated more fully than it could be by mere words.
When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’ Genesis 45:16-18
Joseph was greatly loved and respected by Pharaoh and his officials for his wisdom, godly character and administrative skills. Joseph’s diligence and hard work during the years of Egypt’s plentiful crops helped preserve Pharaoh’s kingdom and his subjects during the past two years of famine. Pharaoh wanted to show his gratitude to Joseph and desired to have Joseph’s family enjoy the fat of the land.
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; Isaiah 1:19
Joseph’s entire family was blessed because of Joseph’s willingness to be an obedient and faithful servant whether he was in a prison or a palace.
“You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’” Genesis 45:19-20
Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt with pack animals but were urged by the Pharaoh to take carts back with them for their wives and children to return in. As a nomadic people, their possessions probably didn’t include any heavy or ornate furnishings. Pharaoh also insisted that Joseph’s family leave their belongings behind because they would be living like Egyptian nobility.
Pharaoh does not realize that his words would be prophetic. He proclaims to the sons of Israel that the best of all Egypt will be theirs. This would literally take place at the time of the Exodus.
Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. Exodus 12:35-36
Joseph’s brothers were blessed and treated like nobility because they were in relationship with him. Joseph again typifies Messiah Jesus. We who come into relationship with the Lord become royalty as sons and daughters of the King.
So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. Genesis 45:21-22
Joseph provided food and other supplies for his brother’s return to Canaan. He gave his brothers new clothing to substantiate their testimony to their father of his wealth and status. Joseph also knew that shepherds were abhorrent to Egyptians and did not want them to return dressed as shepherds.
Joseph demonstrates favoritism to his brother Benjamin by providing him with five sets of new clothing and 300 shekels of silver. A shekel is 2/5 of an ounce of silver. Three hundred shekels totals 120 ounces or 7 ½ pounds of silver.
And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” Genesis 45:23-24
Joseph not only provides for his brother’s return home to Canaan, but for his father and family’s sojourn back to their new home in Egypt. Joseph knew that his brothers, who out of jealousy wanted to kill him but ending up selling him into slavery, might start blaming one another for their sinful acts and so he admonishes them not to quarrel on their way home.
So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” Genesis 45:25-28
Jacob, who believed for 22 years that his son Joseph was killed by a wild beast, is understandably stunned that Joseph was not only alive but the ruler of all Egypt. This news was beyond his wildest dreams. Finally, after Jacob heard his sons’ account of what Joseph had told them, and saw the carts and lavish provisions, he was convinced that indeed Joseph was alive.
Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Luke 24:5-6a
Symbolically, Joseph like Jesus is resurrected from the dead in the eyes of his father.